Business people associated with tourism on lifting of tourist advisories

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 10/9/2019 5:18:16 AM

‘Hail decision but follow it up by restoration of telecom service’

SRINAGAR, Oct 8: Governor administration’s decision to allow the tourists to visit Kashmir from October 10 has been welcomed by those associated with tourism here but needs to be followed immediately by restoring of mobile phone and internet services.
The people associated with tourism here feel that the restoration of phone and internet will give confidence to visitors to travel to Kashmir as in absence of such facilities the tourists will be cut off from their families and relatives back home particularly in view of the present situation. Internet plays a vital role in hotel bookings and air tickets. The visitors may face problems on this front also, they viewed.
The governor’s administration on August 2 had asked all the visitors and Amarnath yatra pilgrims to leave Kashmir immediately. Similar directions were given to thousands of outside labourers working in different parts of the Valley.
In fact the government facilitated the return of tourists and yatris to their homes. The government at that time said there was a threat to the tourists and pilgrims in view of intelligence inputs regarding attack on Amarnath yatra. The officials also displayed some IEDs which they said were recovered on the Yatra route.
For the first time the duration of the yatra was cut short and pilgrims sent back to their homes. This was done amid rushing of thousands of troops and their subsequent deployment in different parts of the Valley.
However, on August 5, tourism in Kashmir came to halt with the restrictions and subsequent shutdown when Articles 370 and 35A were abrogated and J&K state converted into two union territories. The communication clampdown also began with snapping of landline, mobile phone and internet services. Large number of mainstream and separatist leaders and their workers were detained.
While the land lines services were restored some weeks back, the mobile phone and internet service continue to remain suspended. The restrictions were lifted from most areas but spontaneous shutdown continues. Private transport plies now but public transport is off the roads.
The governor’s administration decision last night to allow tourists to visit Valley from October 10 came as a good step. The tourism sector suffered big losses since the situation changed for the worst amidst tourist season. The hotels got emptied and thousands of workers in the hotels became jobless. The tourist places like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg and Yousmarg are wearing a deserted look these days.
“The administration’s decision now is good. But they must immediately restore mobile phone services and internet. This will give confidence to tourists. In the absence of such facilities, the visitors may feel uncomfortable coming over here,” Sajjad Ahmad, working in tourism sector.
He added that at least the broadband services need to be restored so that tourists are able to make advance hotel bookings and do not find any difficulty here while getting tickets.



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